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2020-2021 Board of Directors

Executive Officers

Members of the SDS Executive Committee are elected annually in the summer by the SDS board members.

Suzanne Stolz

Image of Suzanne Stolz2020-2021  SDS Co-President;

Development Committee Co-Chair
Email Suzanne - suzanne (at) disstudies (dot) org

Suzanne Stolz fell in love with Disability Studies when she participated in an NEH Institute for K12 teachers, led by David Mitchell, Sharon Snyder, and Linda Ware in 2003. She met scholars, activists, and artists whose work would help her, as a disabled high school English teacher, to develop ways to engage high school students in conversations about disability. As she joined SDS and continued to explore this in graduate school, she began work with a mentoring program for disabled teens in San Diego. She recruited disabled adult mentors and built a network of folks who have continued to support each other long after funding ended.

After completing an Ed.D. at the University of California-San Diego, Suzanne worked as curriculum developer and trainer for a local nonprofit focused on improving the skills and attitudes of childcare professionals in serving disabled children. She then began work at the University of San Diego to develop an M.Ed. specialization in Universal Design for Learning for its new online program. After serving as an instructor and administrator for the online program for 4 years, she transitioned last fall to a tenure-track faculty position in Special Education, the very thing she’s wanted to disassociate from since she was a child. Regardless, she loves working with future educators and in challenging them to question what they’ve come to know about disability. On her campus, she’s been able to lead UDL and disability studies workshops for faculty. Through collaboration with colleagues at other local institutions, she has helped organize events, including the Disability, Intersectionality, and State Violence Symposium at UCSD.

Holly Pearson

Photo of Holly Pearson2020-2021  SDS Co-President;

2020-2021 Program Committee Co-Chair

Email Holly - holly (at) disstudies (dot) org

Holly Pearson is a deaf/disabled transracial and transnational Korean adoptee who explores and addresses ways to implement institutional changes around the disconnect between diversity and disability. She has been part of the SDS Board since 2018 in several different roles: Executive Committee Secretary, a board member, and a Membership Committee co-coordinator.

Overall, her passion is focused around five areas: the spatiality of intersectionality, social justice, critical food history and culture, history of higher education, and brainstorming resources for disabled bodyminds in higher education. With her passions and her training as an educator and sociologist, she collaborates with various board members and community members in facilitating resources and breathing space(s).

Besides earning a doctorate, being a contingent faculty for the past few years, and being a part of the SDS Board, she dreams about new ways to approach food, working out, doing yoga, and figuring out ways to entwine her passion of architecture, design, food, and social justice into forms of community space(s) of love and resilience.

Joanne Woiak

photo of JoanneSDS 2020-2021 Vice President;

Program Committee Co-Chair

2018-2020 SDS President 
Email Joanne - joanne (at) disstudies (dot) org

Joanne Woiak received her PhD from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto. After many years as a part-time lecturer teaching history of science and disability studies, she was hired as the first full-time lecturer of the Disability Studies Program at the University of Washington. Her research is concerned with a range of questions about disability and the biomedical sciences in American and British history, society, and literature. She has written on the history of sterilization and constructions of mental disability in Washington, representations of eugenics and disability in science fiction, alcoholism and eugenics in British medical discourse and public policy, the politics of the eugenics apology movement, the public history of disability, and disability pedagogy. She teaches Introduction to Disability Studies as well as courses that explore disability in connection to eugenics and bioethics, citizenship, gender and sexuality, history of biology, and popular culture. She serves as faculty mentor for UW’s student-run D Center (Disability and Deaf Cultural Center), and she has organized major events at UW such as the 2009 Eugenics and Disability Symposium and the 2015 and 2016 Pacific & Western Disability Studies Symposia. 

Carol Goldin

Photo of Carol Goldin

SDS  2018-2021 Treasurer;

2018-2021 Finance & Operations Committee Chair 

2020-2021 Policy and Publications Co-Chair
Email Carol - carol (at) disstudies (dot) org

Carol Goldin has spent most of her professional career as an administrator in higher education, primarily in academic program development. She is currently associate dean for assessment at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. In addition, she  actively supports a range of advocacy organizations in the community. Her  expertise in developing organizational strengths has grown in tandem with her interest in complex organizations as vehicles for education, for advocacy, and for self-development. In addition, she is deeply involved in interprofessional education and understand the
diverse (and sometimes conflicting) needs/interests of different disciplines, as well as the imperative to communicate across boundaries.

Carol earned her PhD as a cultural anthropologist at U Penn, but her professional career has been far from the traditional boundaries of one discipline. In her earliest attempts to combine scholarly love of anthropology with commitment to equal rights and opportunities, She developed a research agenda focused on what today would be called social justice. Specifically, she focused on the intersection of societal norms and the emergent norms that those on the “outside” were developing for themselves. Today even the names of these identities are contested (“gay people,” “the blind,” “the mentally ill,” “the criminally insane”). Much of her own work focused on how individuals chose to identify themselves, and even more importantly to her work, how they formed advocacy groups and lived within organizations to support their own definitions of self.

Carol has been a member of SDS for many years; during those years the conversations have become clearer and more forceful – and the whole field of disability studies has flowered. The tension between advocacy and scholarship continues – but today there are far more ways to express the complexity of these relationships and work through the possibilities.

David Hernández-Saca

Image of David Hernandez Saca - Headshot of an individual with short cut and wearing black frame glasses. The individual is smiling at the cameraSDS 2020-2021 Secretary;

Nominations and Awards Co-Chair

Email David - David (at) disstudies (dot) org

I am a dis/abled Latino Disability Studies in Education (DSE) scholar and teacher educator. During my undergraduate education, I came across DSE, which saved my mental, spiritual, bodily, heart, and spirit, from the hegemonic master narratives of learning disabilities and special education. The first course I took on Disability Studies was at the University of California, Berkeley, with Professor Devva Kasnitz. I am currently working on a co-edited book in which I am chronicling the history of DSE and special education, which has also made me realize that I needed to look into the history of the Society of Disability Studies (SDS). I am more familiar with DSE than SDS, so when the opportunity to apply to the SDS Board of Directors came up, I was excited for the opportunity to learn more about it. While I was immigrating to the U.S. in 1984 with my family, as refugees, I developed a high fever that gave me seizures and convulsions during my early childhood, that introduced me to the world of disability but, unfortunately within the U.S. context, through the epistemological, ontological, axiological and etiology of special education: positivism, behaviorism, whiteness, and ableism. I never asked for this. I would have preferred the paradigm of DSE and SDS, which is more life-giving for me. Today, I am an Assistant Professor of DSE within the Department of Special Education at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). I am a former multi-subject teacher, and my teaching responsibilities at UNI include undergraduate teacher preparation courses in the areas of special education law, assistive technology, and advocacy and post-school transition programming. My overall research agenda is to problematize the common-sense assumptions of learning disabilities (LD) as it relates to intersectionality and emotionality through historically multiply marginalized student voices. The following are my lines of inquiry:

  1. The role of emotion and affect in teacher learning about social justice issues,
  2. Transition programming for historically marginalized youth and their families, and
  3. Examining violence within the academy against historically multiply marginalized and non-hegemonic scholars for their well-being and healing.

I hope to be a critical friend and colleague if given this opportunity to serve. I bring a spirit of democratic learning and accompaniment to be an asset and advocate for SDS's principles and values. I look forward to learning about the specific committees to assess how, why, and what I might be able to bring. My hopes and aspirations for SDS are for it to remain a critical and independent society of the critical study of dis/ability at the intersections of power and identities for new epistemological, ontological, axiological and etiological paradigms for transformative freedom, hope, liberation and radical love for dis/abled people and students and communities in our globalized society. I envision this critical revolutionary praxis can be activated at the personal, interpersonal, structural, and political levels of society and institutions such as education for systemic change.

Karen Nakamura

Photo of Karen Nakamura
SDS 2020-2021 Executive Counselor

Policy & Publications Committee Co-Chair
Email Karen - karen (at) disstudies (dot) org  or
karen (dot) nakamura (at) berkeley (dot) edu

Karen identifies on the neuroqueer spectrum and as a mad scholar. She does work on disabilities in Japan – her first project was on Deaf politics and sign language movements, then did a book and two films about living in a community of people with psychosocial disabilities.


Sara M. Acevedo

In tortoise shell glasses Sara smiles at us in a silky blouse.


Policy & Publications Committee Co-Chair

Email Sara - sara (at) disstudies (dot) org

Sara M. Acevedo, Ph.D. is an autistic, mestiza educator and disability justice advocate born and raised in South America. Her background is in linguistics, critical disability studies, and activist anthropology. She is Assistant Professor of Disability Studies at Miami University.

Acevedo's research, teaching practice, and grassroots activism invite a re-figuration of disability as a cultural and political experience as opposed to a diagnostic label

Sara received her Ph.D. in Anthropology and Social Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2018 and a Masters degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on Disability Studies from Temple University in 2012.

Sara served at the California Institute for Integral Studies in various capacities from 2012-2018: Integral Teaching Fellow and adjunct lecturer in the school of interdisciplinary studies; Diversity and Disability Advocacy Fellow for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and is Fellow Emerita of the Center for Writing and Scholarship. Dr. Acevedo has given several lectures touching on various aspects of disability politics and culture in different universities across the United States. Her most recent University talk, "Disability at the Intersections: Building Collectively Toward Institutional Access" was held at the D Center at the University of Washington in April of 2019.

Sara currently serves as Co-chair of the Policy and Publications Committee for SDS, the editorial board of Disability and the Global South: International Journal and the editorial board of Ough: The Journal of Autistic Culture. She is is co-founder of Coalición Nacional para Latinxs con Discapacidades (National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities) and co-founder of the blog “Autismo, Liberación y Orgullo,” a creative, critical response to the limited amount of literature, informational resources, grassroots materials and activist narratives authored by Spanish-speaking  neurodivergent people in Latin America. Dara was was commissioned by the Vera Institute of Justice to develop an anti-ableist glossary of disability terminology in Spanish, which was published this year. Her co-authored piece, Autism, Neurodiversity, and Inclusive Education” was published this June in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Research in Education.

Sara has collaborated with U.S. grassroots leaders in the Mental Health movement, The Mad Pride Movement, and the Neurodiversity Movement in order to potentialize cross-movement solidarity and coalition building. This work emphasizes shared political and educational agendas while honoring multiple lived experiences and what each brings to the table. She recently collaborated with Lydia X.Z.Brown - Autistic Hoya in the role of Disability Organizing and Research Fellow.

Sara received an honorable mention for the 2017 Irving k. Zola Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Disability Studies for a paper titled "Neuroqueering Composition: Sensual Reflections on the Inclusive Life of Thoughts" - the paper will be part of a forthcoming book on Neurodiversity.


Vandana Chaudhry

Vandana Chaudhry Nominations & Awards Committee Co-Chair

Email Vandana - vandana (dot) chaudhry (at) csi (dot) cuny (dot) edu

Vandana Chaudhry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the City University of New York – College of Staten Island. She came to CSI in 2012 after completing her doctoral studies in Social Work and Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on disability in the Global South, neoliberal governance, culturally and structurally competent practices, and disability justice. Her multi-year ethnographic work explores disability at the nexus of development, globalization and the politics of subject-formation in rural South India, through the examination of microfinance, community based approaches and disability pensions. She theorizes rural disability within the framework of capacity and debility produced through transnational processes of collective precarity, rural underdevelopment, and structural violence, along the intersecting lines of caste, class, gender, location, and the state. In doing so, her work moves away from dominant liberal Euro-American disability and social work paradigms and towards decolonizing disability epistemologies, methodologies and practices from the perspective of the Global South. Dr. Chaudhry has published widely across the disciplines of disability studies, social work, and interdisciplinary social sciences, with her work appearing in Disability and Society, International Social Work, and Qualitative Inquiry, among others.

Her article “Living at the Edge: Disability, Gender, and Neoliberal Debtscapes of Microfinance in India” received the 2016 Affilia Award for Distinguished Feminist Scholarship and Praxis in Social Work. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation and CUNY, among others. She is currently working on a book project that examines contradictions of neoliberal governmentality for people with disabilities in the context of disability microfinance projects of the World Bank in rural areas of south India. She is also working on a second interconnected project that examines politics of disability assessment, certification and state pensions in light of digital governance and techno-mediated surveillance in India. As a scholar of and with disability, Dr. Chaudhry’s research is oriented towards building knowledge that embraces disability as intrinsic to human diversity, and to promote policies that enable self-determination and full participation for all.

Patrick Devlieger

Photo of Patrick DevliegerDevelopment Committee Co-Chair
Email Patrick - patrick (at) disstudies (dot) org

Patrick Devlieger first worked as a researcher-volunteer anthropologist in the DR Congo and later discovered other anthropologists who are working in the field of disability while he was working for UNESCO and ILO in Eastern and Southern Africa and attended the Society for Applied Anthropology. After he joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for his PhD, he then discovered disability studies and later joined one of the first master and PhD programs in disability and human development, at the University of Illinois in Chicago. His research has concentrated on disability and culture interchanges, as expressed in worldviews and discourse, later in the context of the cultural life course, and in the context of inner-city life and violence in Chicago. He returned with his family to Belgium and joined the anthropology department at the University of Leuven, where he teaches and supervises master and PhD research on disability anthropology. He engaged in the 2003 European Year of Disabled Persons with a project on disability, use of the senses, and European heritage. He joined and co-founded the ALTER European Society for Disability Research and organized its annual meeting in 2013, and well as co-organizes yearly a doctoral school. He also re-engaged in disability research in African countries, mostly DR Congo and South Africa, and joined AFRINEAD. He co-founded the Disability Film Festival at Leuven. During a sabbatical in 2015, his attention was devoted to the cultural heritage of leprosy in countries around the world, and with a lot of attention to the settlement of Kalaupapa (Molokai, Hawaii). Patrick is currently teaching ‘posthuman anthropology’ in which he re-situates disability at the nexus of changing relations and landscapes, and the quest for what the human means.

Kathy McMahon-Klosterman

Photo of Kathy McMahon Klosterman

2020-2021 Membership Committee Co-Chair

Email Kathy - kathy (at) disstudies (dot) org

After teaching in public schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Kathy began teaching at Miami University in 1976 in the department of Educational Psychology. She received her doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, her Masters from Boston College and her undergraduate degree from Salve Regina University (Newport, R.I.) Her focus has been on Special Education teacher preparation (with a Disability Studies perspective before it was named as such) and Women’s Studies.

Kathy served as the Associate Director of Miami University’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equity. She was the first Eminent Faculty Scholar for Service-Learning and Community Engagement at Miami University and institutionalized Service-Learning. Kathy established the Miami University academic minor in Disability Studies and wrote and taught many of the courses.

Kathy is Past President of the Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities.  As a trained Conflict Mediator, Kathy facilitates workshops for educators. As a longtime member of the Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice, Kathy has committed her energies to working for peaceful solutions to complex problems.

As a feminist, she was a founder of the Oxford chapter of the National Organization for Women and on the board of the first Ohio shelter for battered women. She hosted and produced a radio program on WMUB titled, Women About Women. Archives are available on the web: Multi-media, NOW

Scrapbooks of NOW Oxford chapter

Pop Culture, Feminist

She is a political activist and ally with persons marginalized by identities. She has been a longtime member of SDS

Toni Saia

A picture of Toni who is sitting outside in her chair. Long brown wavy hair with black round rims. She is wearing a black top and long black cardigan and grey pants. She is smiling into the camera.

Email Toni - toni (at) disstudies (dot) com

Toni identifies as a disabled woman with a deep commitment to social justice, inclusion, and equity for all. Her professional work history has involved advocating for a progressive understanding of disability. Toni is currently the Project Leader, Foundations of Inclusion and Accessibility: Building Organizational Capacity in Cultural Institutions with the Museums, Arts, and Cultural Access institutions across NYC. Additionally, she serves as Adjunct Faculty at both the University of Arizona, San Diego State, and Hofstra University teaching both disability studies and counseling courses. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Arizona with her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. Her dissertation focused on the role of disability cultural centers in higher education, one of the only studies on this topic.

Cassandra Hartblay

Picture of Cassandra standing in front of a book shelf. She has short hair, and is looking at the camera. She is wearing a grey blazer with a purple top.
2020-2021 SDS Membership Committee Co-Chair
Email Cassandra - cassandra (at) disstudies (dot) com

I first encountered disability studies as an undergraduate campus disability activist: Cindy Wu and Joan Ostrove introduced me to the academic field, giving me words for the ideas I had been fighting for. As a graduate student at my first SDS in San Jose, I met scholar-activists who continue to be my collaborators to this day. I attend the conference most years, recently, bringing graduate students and introducing them to the SDS community.

I am assistant professor of Health Humanities and Anthropology at the University of Toronto, where we are launching a new Research Centre for Global Disability Studies, tied to a proposed Disability Cultural Centre. I received my PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015 and have held postdoctoral appointments at UC San Diego and Yale University. I am a contributor to the interinstitutional Critical Design Lab and Contra* podcast. My research on disability in contemporary Russia considers how disability rights, disability justice, and accessible design concepts circulate globally. My published scholarship explores: histories of socialist ableism, contemporary activism about the urban built environment, and online sociality in the former Soviet Union. My forthcoming book (University of Toronto Press 2020) is an ethnographic play script based on interviews with adults with mobility and speech impairments in one Russian city.

I am a proponent of what Max Liboiron calls “administrative activism,” which works from the premise that the institutions that we cultivate shape our world. As a white settler mostly-abled colleague, I approach this work from a position of solidarity. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha writes that sometimes caring for oneself and one’s community means letting nondisabled allies carry some of the load; I understand administrative labor as this kind of care work. I am guided by anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-ableist feminist praxis. My work is not perfect, and I continue to learn.

I have served as a steering committee member of the Disability Research Interest Group (DRIG) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). During my term, we developed the first DRIG accessible presentation guidelines (based on principles already in place at SDS), which were subsequently adopted by the AAA as a whole. I then served on the DRIG conference access committee, which successfully advocated for AAA to hire a permanent staff member with disability advocacy knowledge and accessibility in their job description. I serve on the Diversity & Decolonization Committee in my graduate department and served as diversity co-chair for the graduate student organization at UNC-Chapel Hill.

As a board member for SDS, I will work to develop the reach of the organization and its long term sustainability. I have ideas for expanding the membership through outreach to graduate students and internationally and for new initiatives to honor non-academic activists whose disability justice work impacts scholarship in the field. I would work to continue SDS’s role as an essential resource for students & faculty with disabilities, and as a bridge between activism and academia. I offer skills in website development and design; outreach and publicity strategy; and administrative activism toward a more just future.

Frank Wyman

photo of Frank2020-2021 Appointed as Advisor to the President
Email Frank - frank (at) disstudies (dot) org

Franklin K. Wyman holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Yale University, a J.D. from George Washington University, an LL.M. in Taxation from New York University, and his M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D., all in History, from Drew University. He has published five articles in The Encyclopedia of American Disability History and has other publications pending in various stages of development, including an intellectual history of blindness discussing both Enlightenment and present day thought on that topic.

Dr. Wyman has taught the University level since 2000. He joined the City University of New York faculty in the fall of 2009 as an Adjunct Professor of Disability and is also an Adjunct Professor of Disability Studies and Fellow of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

Dr. Wyman began his career as an attorney in private practice in New York and New Jersey, first with large firms and later in solo practice. His solo practice includes substantial work, both in court and as an advisor, on behalf of persons with disabilities and their families. He also maintains a general practice of law.

Dr. Wyman has served as a trustee of the Community Health Law Project, a New Jersey statewide legal services organization, since 1995. He served as a Director of the Society for Disability Studies for several years beginning in 2008, and he has just been reappointed to the Board. He served as Treasurer of SDS for two years and served as Vice-President of that organization for one year.

Executive Director

Devva Kasnitz

Photo of Devva Kasnitz Email Devva - sds (at) disstudies (dot) org

Trained as a cultural geographer at Clark University and then as an anthropologist at The University of Michigan, Devva Kasnitz did postdoctoral work at Northwestern and at the University of California, San Francisco in urban and medical anthropology. She has worked in the area of disability studies for the last 35 years while still maintaining an interest in ethnicity and immigration. She was on the founding board of the Society for Disability Studies, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), and the Anthropology and Disability Research Interest Group, and has mentored a generation of disability studies scholars in the US, Australia, and Guatemala. She currently teaches for the City University of New York in their Disability Studies Program and is our SDS Executive Director. She lives in Northern California surrounded by her family and by spinning wheels and baskets full of yarn and wool waiting to become yarn.

Susan Fitzmaurice

Photo of Susan Fitzmaurice
Assistant to Executive Director

Susan is a lifelong disability advocate beginning when she was 14 and volunteered in a state run institution including multiply-disabled children, which she later testified to help close down.

She attended Bank St. in NYC and majored in Curative Education, the precursor of Special Education. She taught in New York city schools in preschool and elementary special education.  As a parent she fought for her son's placement as the first kindergartener in inclusive education in Michigan. She founded the Curious Child, a bookstore geared to proactively influence how parents, teachers, and children think of disability.

Susan's degrees from Syracuse University are in both Rehabilitation Counseling and Disability Studies. She has published multiple articles related to sexuality, parenting, and intellectual disability. Susan was an ADA Coordinator for Dearborn, Michigan for nearly a decade. She was recognized as the advocate of the year in 2006 by the World Institute on Disability for her creation of a resource for people with disabilities impacted by the Katrina hurricane. She has had multiple positions with VSA Michigan - the state arts organization on disability in Michigan.

She now specializes in disability access for all through her consultancy practice - DisabilitySavvy. Her current passion is renovating her condo to address the accessibility needs of her low vision, deafness, & physical disability, and her son's intellectual disability and mental Illness. She hopes it will change the way homes are built to foster lifelong living in the community.

Susan has been monitoring the SDS listserv as a volunteer since 2002. In 2015 she became Devva's assistant primarily involved with membership and maintaining the website.